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Qatar acquires Raffles hotels in Singapore, Paris

Qatar Nationals Hotels Company (QNH) said on Monday it has taken over the ownership of two iconic Raffles properties in Singapore and Paris.

“Adding these iconic properties to our portfolio represents consistent steps of QNH’s strategic expansion at the international level,” said Hamad Abdulla Al Mulla, CEO of QNH.

“Through years of rich history, Raffles Hotel Singapore and Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris have become legendary legacies that enhance the hospitality values by building a bridge between tradition and a glorious future,” he added.

He did not give a value for the deal to acquire the two luxury hotels.

Raffles Singapore was the first hotel to operate under the Raffles Hotels & Resorts brand.

Named after the founder of modern Singapore, the hotel carries more than a century of history.

Opened in 1887, the 103-key hotel was declared a National Monument on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.

After three years of extensive restoration works, Raffles Hotel Singapore reopened in 1991 and today it stands as a jewel in the crown of Singapore’s hospitality industry.

Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris is the European flagship of Raffles Hotels & Resorts. After two years of renovation, the hotel reopened in October 2010.

In November, QNH said it was investing $55m in converting a former palace into a luxury hotel in Morocco.

It said it has signed an investment agreement with the government of Morocco for the revamp of Tazi Palace in Tangier.

QNH will spend $55m to convert the former palace into a five star hotel consisting of 120 rooms, two VIP villas and one Royal villa.

Gulf hotels continue to benefit from Arab Spring in Nov

Middle East hotels continued to benefit from the impact of the Arab Spring in November as tourists diverted from northern Africa, STR Global said on Friday.

While occupancy, average rates and revenue per available room (revPAR) all slumped in Africa, hotels in the Middle East saw strong demand growth and reported increases in the key indicators, STR Global’s latest data showed.

Overall, the Middle East/Africa region reported mostly negative performance results during November, weighed by tourism centres like Cairo which reported a 47 percent drop in occupancy compared to November 2010.

Cairo also posted a 14.4 percent decrease in average rates to $112.29 and a 55 percent decline in revPAR to just $44.

By contrast, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia saw an 11.7 percent rise in ADR to $285.07, and Dubai posted an 11.3 percent increase to $279.06.

Dubai (up 19.5 percent to $243.56) and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (up 14.3 percent to $161.49) were the best revPAR performers in November, STR Global added.

“Due to the Arab Spring starting early this year across northern Africa, the performances between Africa and the Middle East differ greatly,” said Elizabeth Randall, managing director of STR Global.

“The month of November saw the continued trend of the past few months. Africa reported declining demand (-7 percent) and drops in occupancy, average rate and RevPAR. RevPAR only grew in January against the prior year.

“The Middle East, partly benefiting from the influx of visitors who diverted from Northern Africa, saw strong demand growth and reporting increases in the key indicators for November and year-to-date.”

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